Impacts of landcover changes on streamflows in the Middle Zambezi Catchment within Zimbabwe

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We investigate the impacts of land cover changes on the river flows of the Middle Zambezi tributary catchments in Zimbabwe. Trend analysis on rainfall and streamflow was carried out using the Mann-Kendall test at monthly and annual time steps. Rainfall analysis indicated an increasing trend which was not statistically significant (p<0.05) for all stations. Annual streamflow time series indicated negative decreasing trends which were not statistically significant (p<0.05) except for the rainfall months of November and December. The study deduced that the changes in rainfall did not affect hydrological catchment behaviour and changes in streamflow were thus caused by anthropogenic factors such as land cover changes. Statistical tests indicated a weak but significant correlation between rainfall and streamflow which also supports the fact that changes in streamflow are mainly driven by land cover changes. Land cover change assessments were done through supervised classification of Landsat images for the years 1989, 1998, 2008 and 2014. All catchments exhibited increases in cultivation area and decreases in forest and grassland. The semi-distributed HBV-Light model was applied for change detection modelling of the gauged Musengezi catchment. We conclude that the HBV Light model can be successfully used to simulate flows for the catchment.




Gumindoga, W., Makurira, H., & Garedondo, B. (2018). Impacts of landcover changes on streamflows in the Middle Zambezi Catchment within Zimbabwe. In Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (Vol. 378, pp. 43–50). Copernicus GmbH.

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